Slide-Rock Bolter (Macrostoma saxiperrumptus) is a bizarre creature first written about by William Thomas Cox, the State Forester of Minnesota in his book ‘Fearsome Critters of the Lumberwoods’ (published in1910). He collected lumberjack tales from all over the U.S.A.
The Slide-Rock Bolter is from south west Colorado and dates back to folklore of the 19th Century. Miners and lumberjacks would often come down from the mountains, with stories of a creature they called a ‘land whale’ . In general, the Bolter is perceived to be larger than a blue whale, camouflaged to blend in to its surroundings. Some describe its grey-brown coloured body as covered with scraggy, brush-like growths, whilst others say it appears to be a fat, smooth rock. Once hidden, it is difficult to spot.
It is believed to live in the mountains of Colorado where the slopes have more than a 45 degree angle . It has an immense head, with small eyes, and a mouth that extends back beyond its ears. It looks somewhat like the shape of a whale.The tail consist of a divided flipper, with enormous grab-hooks, which it fastens over the crest of the mountain or ridge, hanging there motionless waiting for prey. After sighting a human or animal, it will lift its tail, thus loosening its hold on the mountain.It then slides down the mountain at speed, assisted by grease it produces from its mouth, like a toboggan, scooping up its victim on its downward path. The body is so large that trees in its path are broken and flattened . Its own impetus carries it up the next slope, where it slaps its tail over the ridge and waits for the next victim(s).It can swallow parties of tourists according to legend. Some claim its tail, is similar to a crab’s pincer, others say it is forked with hooks.
A forest range decided to lure a slide-rock bolter to its own destruction. A dummy was dressed up with plaid jacket, knee breeches, and a guide book to Colorado. It was then filled full of gunpowder and fulminate caps and posted in a conspicuous place.The next day a bolter took the bait. The explosion flattened half the buildings in Rico and the surrounding hills Flocks of buzzards feasted on the corpse the whole summer.
Some believe that the lack of recent sightings of the slide rock bolter suggests that it is currently lying dormant high in the mountains but whenever hikers go missing in the area, rumours spread that the Bolter is responsible.Others claim recent tourists have seen large swathes of crushed foliage consistent with the downward trajectory of the monster.Did lumberjacks and miners invent the Slide-Rock Bolter in response to the visible evidence of environmental damage left by the industries?
Unless some evidence such as remains of a Bolter or photos of one comes to light, it will remain a myth,a campfire story.
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